Displaying items by tag: italy

Friday, 12 November 2021 15:04


IMG 3127The last stop on our Italian adventure was an overnight at Rome airport before flying home. The 3 hour trip from Siena flew by quickly.

We checked into the Hilton which literally faces the airport terminal.

The signs to car rental return are clearly marked but you must take a ticket to enter. Upon reaching our car rental, there was another gate that required the ticket in order to raise it and enter.

Ten minutes later we were on our way into Rome via the airport train. The train operates about every 30 minutes until midnight and is an easy transport into the city.

We walked from the train terminal to the Spanish Steps. The city was fairly crowded especially in light of October tourism and the pandemic. Our last evening was spent at the home of our Italian friends enjoying their hospitality and reminiscing about old times.

The Hilton does not have a shuttle service and most people walk to the terminal with their luggage and baggage trolleys.

The check in at American took about 5 minutes as we produced our passports and our Verifly App which stated we were ready to travel. One nice change was the accessibility of VAT refunds. Just past American’s checkin, there was a booth prior to security. And another one was between security and passport control. This was so much better than previously when the booth was in a far hidden recess of the airport.

Our flight left on time and although we bid arrivederci, we knew Italy would be calling us back again soon.

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Friday, 12 November 2021 15:02

San Gimignano

san gimignano 4San Gimignano is relatively close to Siena, only about 25 miles away.

This hill town has many well preserved medieval towers and the historic center is a UNESCO world heritage site. Even in October, the town was crowded and it was not easy to find a parking spot. But it’s definitely worth a visit to walk through these ancient, historic streets. There are many shops and restaurants to cater to tourists but somehow they do not diminish the rich history unfolding before you. One feels transported back to the Middle Ages as you stroll along , ultimately ending at the Piazza della Cisterna.

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Friday, 12 November 2021 15:00


IMG 2743Another small town about a half hour from Siena is Monterriggioni. This walled town built on a hill boasts spectacular views. A short stroll through the fortress gate brings you to the Piazza Roma and the Santa Maria church. There are a number of small shops and we even stopped in one where they were making scarves and sweaters by loom. And don’t miss the castle and the references to Dante Alighieri..definitely a worthwhile town to add to your itinerary.

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Friday, 12 November 2021 14:58


Bill in Florence

How can you be in Siena and not visit Florence again? You’re just an hour away from this vibrant city where the Academy Gallery with its breathtaking statue of David by Michelangelo and the Uffizi Palace with its incredible artwork reside. The Piazza Duomo and the Baptistry of St. John dominate the tourist area as you walk toward the Ponte Vecchio. Florence is the city that captivates you on every level and it beckons you to return over and over.

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Friday, 12 November 2021 14:56


montefollonico 5

This hilltop town has a rich history and is probably one of the prettiest towns we visited. About 7000 people live in this ancient village. And every house has a beautiful facade with flowers blooming everywhere.

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Friday, 12 November 2021 14:52



Montalcino is another hill town near Siena. It’s known for its fortress and the Brunello wine that is produced there. And the views from the town overlooking the valley are unbelievable...even more enjoyable when having a glass of the local wine!

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Friday, 12 November 2021 14:50


montepulciano 3Montepulciano is about an hours drive from Siena. This town was high on our list of places to visit as we have enjoyed many glasses of wine from here. Only cars with permits are allowed in town so after parking, we strolled toward the Piazza Grande. We wandered through the many shops selling wine but soon discovered Dolce Vita. The pastries and hot chocolate sent us into sugar overload. We decided not to ship wine home(packing it in our luggage was not an option) and instead purchased enough sweets to last us a couple of days. We contemplated opening a franchise back home but realized it would be a losing venture as we’d constantly be eating all of the profits.??

If you can, do not miss Montepulciano and be sure to have a glass of wine there AND hot chocolate!

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Friday, 12 November 2021 14:47


sienna 1Siena is a picturesque city about an hour south of Florence. Its Piazza Del Campo is always crowded with natives and tourists enjoying the many restaurants. It is surrounded by stores that will satisfy any culinary or shopping desire. The cobblestone streets meander throughout this ancient city revealing historical sights and magnificent churches.

In the old walled city, one must have a permit to drive a car. Our hotel had a parking lot behind it but each time we departed and returned, our info. had to be entered by the hotel into the municipal system or there would be a fine. Again, our phones were our best friends for navigating the city and the surrounding countryside.

To return to the USA right now, one must have a antigen test within 72 hours of departure. The hotel made an appointment for us at the Piazza Del Campo Farmacia. The pharmacist came out at our appointed time and took our passports. A couple of minutes later, they gave each of us the test and asked us to return in 15 minutes. And 15 minutes later, they provided us with a written negative certificate which we then uploaded to our Verifly App and the App told us we were ready to travel. A really easy process for 22 euros each.

Most tourists travel to Siena as a day trip from Florence but it is easily worth more time if your schedule permits.

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Thursday, 28 October 2021 10:22


RiomaggioreUpon exiting the train in Riomaggiore, we chose to walk up to the town. What were we thinking? This path is best suited to true hikers and those in great shape. The easiest walk is through the tunnel from the train station to the bottom of the main street which is full of trattorias, souvenirs and gelaterias.
There are incredible views and this is definitely not a town to be overlooked!

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Thursday, 28 October 2021 10:10


MonterossoMonterosso is the only town in Cinque Terre with an actual beach on the Mediterranean. The town is divided into old and new by a tunnel. The views are spectacular and can be enjoyed in the many cafes and surrounding restaurants. We had dinner at Miky..great food and wonderful service! And as with all of Cinque Terre, Monterosso is only minutes away by train.

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